A new Cervical Screening Test has replaced the existing Pap test. IT is recommended that the new screening test will be conducted every five years instead of every two for people aged 25 to 74 years.
The new screening test is a screen for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) with partial genotyping.
Cervical screening should commence at 25 years of age and women should have an exit test between 70 and 74 years of age.
Women with symptoms (including pain or bleeding) can have a cervical test at any age
Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Cervical cancer is a rare outcome of persistent infection with oncogenic (cancer causing) HPV types. The time from HPV infection to cervical cancer is usually 10 to 15 years. Cervical screening should focus on detecting HPV, in particular types 16 and 18 that have been associated with 70% to 80% of the cases in Australia. Evidence suggests that screening for HPV every five years is more effective than, and just as safe as, screening with a Pap test every two years.
Because Australia has an effective national vaccine program, the prevalence of HPV in young people 18-24 is very low.